Fatal accident at Okaihau
In St Catherine's Church Cemetery in Okaihau is this grave belonging to an older member of the community. James Slater was born 1836 in Parkergate, Bassenthwaite, Cumberland in the UK to Joseph Slater and Elizabeth Dobson,.
According to the NZ Herald Volume XXIII, Issue 7693, 19 July 1886, Page 5:
On the 9th instant, while Mr James Slater, President of the Okaihau and Bay of Islands Agricultural Society, ex county-councillor and late chairman of the District School Committee was felling bush when he met with his death. Mr Slater was a fine gentle hearted man. The Agricultural Society and the schools will feel the loss of this gentleman, particularly the Agricultural and Horticultural Society but he leaves the funds in a healthy state as he was also it's treasurer. I fear that the society will suffer now that it is losing it's secretary Mr Nield who is being removed to another school.Mr Slater worked hard for success and no doubt your readers noticed some months back that he was the purchaser of a number of Shorthorn (pure blood) stock and it was while he was enlarging his area of grass to support his splendid dairy that he met with his melancholy end. It was his aim to make his farm the best in the north and his dairy farm though in it's infancy bids fair to hold it's own in the Bay of Islands.He tended and housed his cattle carefully for as he has frequently told me "they stood by him" and he would care for them in return. The inquest was held on the 12th instance before Captain Burleigh J.P. and the verdict was returned "accidental death". He was buried in the English Church Yard and the funeral was attended by the largest gathering of sympathising mourners ever witnessed in this settlement.Brother John Donaldson, Chaplan conducted the service of that institution of which Brother Slater was a member. The Rev P. Walsh who read the beautiful burial service paid a touching tribute to the worth of Mr Slater and the loss the settlement had suffered by his sudden removal.
He is survived by his wife Sarah (Irving) and their children; William, James, Joseph, Annie and Mary. Baby James who was 1 year old.
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